Letter: Stolen yard signs and political tolerance
To the editor:
Recently, two yard signs ("Black Lives Matter" and "Love Thy Neighbor — Stop Racism Now") were stolen from our yard on Broad Street in Pittsfield. The recent protests across America and around the world have persuaded us that, as older white people, we have a duty to stand up for others who don't have the same privileges we and others like us have always enjoyed.
The stolen signs were not the kind of free signs you can get from the campaign office of your favorite candidate. We bought them online, at about $40 each. They bear messages that we are willing to pay for in order to express our beliefs.
Stealing someone's yard sign is like stealing their gun. It's not just a violation of their property rights, but a violation of their constitutional rights — in the case of the yard signs, the right to free speech.
We all have this in common: We want America to be as great as she can be. With an election coming, there will soon be a lot more yard signs, bumper stickers and lapel pins and clothing appearing in our yards, on our cars and on our persons. This is a big part of what makes our country great — that we are allowed to participate politically, and that so many of us choose to do so.
But we are less great when we're intolerant of other people expressing their views as freely as we express our own. Whether you support Trump or Biden, whether you wear a MAGA hat or have an anti-racist bumper sticker (or both), you are allowed to stand tall, and you have a right to expect your fellow citizens to honor your freedom to speak your mind.
As the current political season unfolds, and after it's over, let's all live up to the best of American traditions and celebrate our political diversity and our ability to say what we believe without fear of retaliation or suppression. We all win from that.
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